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The Coopers Hawk — A Common Enemy of Backyard Birds

Protection From Birds of Prey Such As Hawks

As you know, my favorite kind of bird feeder is what is called the tray feeder. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to the tray bird feeder plans which include exposing our favorite little backyard friends to the birds of prey like hawks,which may be looking for a treat. Tray feeders also expose the food on the tray to the weather elements which can quickly ruin the food for the birds. And if that weren’t enough, because the tray feeder is totally exposed, squirrels and other pests can also dine on the food you put out for your birds.

Despite all of this, I still love using tray bird feeders because it is so much easier to enjoy the birds while they are feeding.  Sometimes in order to escape the weather as best I can, I will put a little lean-to type roof or a little roof on poles on my tray feeders.  Bear with me while I explain these things to you, because the fact is the simple things I use, and what I’m going to describe next, aren’t really the prettiest architecturally designed bird feeders you’ll ever see.  But they may keep your birds safe. My lean-to roof, for instance, is just a piece of plywood that I screwed to the corners of the tray. Now, I like to use the lean-to with wing nuts whenever I can, because I can take things apart easily when I need to thoroughly clean the bird feeder. Needless to say, it’s very pretty simple for me to put the roof back on using the wing nuts. This next little adaptation is one I think you will find quite interesting though.Squirrel Proofing and Protecting Your Backyard Friends Using Wire Fencing

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wire enamel coated fencing which has a grid 1 ½ in. square
  • Wire cutters
  • Work gloves
  • Scrap lumber which is 6 inches wide for bending your wire
  • A tray bird feeder made like a box with no top

Here’s what you do:

    1. Carefully measure the inside of your tray feeder.  Be precise.
    2. Go to the store and buy fencing in a size that will give you a piece that is at least 12 inches larger on each side than the measurements you took of the floor of your tray bird feeder. For instance, if the tray of your feeder floor was 18” x 24”, the amount of fencing you will need will be 30” x 36”. To save yourself extra work, and maybe your hands, ask the store clerk to cut the piece of fencing you purchase to your specifications. Most stores will do this for free, or for a very nominal charge.
    3. As pictured, take your wire cutters and cut so that you can fold 6 inches of wire at a right angle to your main piece of fencing. This 6 inches of wire around the entire tray will become the sides of your feeder. In fact, you may want to mark the center of your wire fencing with the exact measurements of the floor of the feed tray. A fine point indelible marker would make this job easy. You will make an identical 6 inch fold and cut on the opposite side of the wire as well. This will create two sides once folded and leave you with the other two sides having an overlap in length which will become the support in the corners of the tray.

 

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Step1—Making the Initial Cuts In the Wire

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Step 2 – Folding The Wire Fencing to Form Corners

 

  1. Now you are ready to make the folds in the wire fencing which will complete your project. While wearing your heavy duty
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    Finished Tray Feeder Top With Wire Protection

    gloves, carefully bend the wire to form a box shape while folding the excess wire at two ends around the signs you have already formed. To finish those corners, use your pliers to bend the wire in an exacting way. See the picture below.

  2. Using either twist ties, wire, or plastic ties, attaching your fold over from the longer side to the sides created which areshorter.  Do this for all four corners. You should now have a wire box which is a mirror image of the inside of the feeder tray. See the picture below next.
  3. The last and final step in this process is to press your wire cover into place on your tray feeder. It should fit snugly inside the tray against its sides. If you have used the size fencing recommended, the openings will be large enough for the smaller birds, but will prevent larger birds like Jays and starlings from getting to the food. This cover will also prevent squirrels from getting to the food as well.

On a final note, if your fencing is sturdy, it may just keep a hungry hawk away from one of your backyard friends too. Hope you enjoy this project . . . .   Rose

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Birdscapes Clear Window Feeder

Be Sure Your Window Bird Feeder is Safe for the Birds to Visit

There is nothing more relaxing and enjoyable with your morning coffee but a visit from one of your back yard friends to have breakfast with you.  Window bird feeders can make this possible virtually every day of the year.  While I’m talking about a window feeder in your kitchen dining area, the best window in your house may be elsewhere.  You choose the window best for you, and then be amazed at the close up views of your favorite birds.  With a window feeder, you can get so close that every single detail of your favorite birds will be visible.  You’ll see their colorings, their features, how they move, and eat in almost microscopic fashion.

In addition to the unbelievable close up views of your birds, there are some other benefits of most window bird feeders that many of us don’t realize.  For instance, unless there is a nearby tree branch or other object with some height by the window, you will have a squirrel free bird feeder without the aggravation of trying to outwit the wily squirrel.  On the other hand, if trees or other object are nearby, all anti-squirrel bets are off, and you may have to move the feeder to different window.

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Coveside Panoramic In-house Window Bird Feeder with Mirrored Panel

All window feeders are neat from our human perspective, but it is important for us to remember these feeders which provide sustenance can be dangerous to the birds at the same time.  No, not the feeder itself, but the window to which it is attached.  Some have estimated upwards to a billion birds per year die from flying into windows, because they can’t see the glass.

Window bird feeders like the one above are safer for the birds than the ones located on the window sill.  The simple reason for this is not unlike the decals many of us place on our sliding glass doors to keep humans from crashing into the window.  The feeders attached to the middle of the window are much like our decals and make the birds realize something is there.

You can make window sill mounted feeders just as safe by adding a decal or blocking out the glass with shades or some other window covering from the inside or outside.  There are any number of decorative things you can do when necessary, just be sure you don’t block your own view of the feeder.

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DIY Window Bird Feeder with Top

Like your other feeders, window bird feeders should be cleaned daily to protect the birds which feed there from becoming sick.  We often forget birds transmit diseases to one another just like humans, and with these feeders, the birds walk around on top of the food they are eating and do leave a few droppings behind which are clearly not healthy.  Thankfully, most window feeders are very easy to clean.  Even the do-it-yourself window feeder project in this post is specifically designed to be easy to clean.  You can visit that post by clicking here.

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Bluebird At His Nesting Box

Bluebirds Love to Live Near Fields, Golf Courses, or Undeveloped Land

The easiest way to get the bluebirds to come to your back yard is very simple.  Live near open spaces and put up a nesting box for them.  Bluebirds like to live in hollow areas like hollows of a tree or the little birdhouse you built for them and attached to a tree near the open space in your backyard.

Needless to say, perfect hollows are not that common in trees, so a small nesting box will be found and appreciated by the bluebird.  One really good way to attract the bluebird is by attaching bluebird houses in the trees or mounting them on poles facing the trees about every one hundred feet.  Add to this an open tray feeder with some meal worms in the one location of your property where the best blue bird habitat with trees is located.

Bluebirds love a source of water too, like a bird bath or good sized container of water from which to drink.  In addition, trying to cover all bases, hang a suet feeder too.   Bluebirds do love suet feeders, and for good measure they love peanuts.  It is a really good idea to keep peanuts handy and fresh in your freezer if they happen into your yard unexpectedly.

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How To Build A Bluebird House

Bluebird houses are simple to build and make a great weekend project.  Place on a pole about four to six feet from the ground and facing a tree.   Separate additional bluebird houses by at least 100 feet because bluebirds can be very territorial.

Bluebirds are such wonderful backyard friends.  They are so tame at times, if you are patient, you can literally have them eating out of your hands.  You can keep the party going too, especially if you will clean the box well right after you see the young have left.

If you do this, there is a very good chance the adult birds will have a second and maybe even a third brood of birds before the season is over   For me at least, there could never be enough bluebirds in my backyard.

Remember to give them a house and they will make it a home.  If you’ll have it ready by early March, they will come.  You should watch carefully though to keep certain pesky birds and other animals out of the empty box before the bluebirds find it.

Squirrels may even take it over and enlarge the hole by gnawing the wood.  Run the squirrel out and replace the front board with a fresh board with an opening the right size for the bluebird.  The size of the opening is critical as to what kind of bird will use the box.  Watch too for wasps.  If you find them, spray them and remove their nest and clean any debris out of the house.  Be aware that other birds might get into the house too.   Woodpeckers, like squirrels may enlarge the hole, and sparrows just take over.  If sparrows get in, clean out any nest they made and stuff the hole up until you are sure they are gone.

As you can see from the picture, this is a simple woodworking project.  It is merely a wooden box with a backing hearty enough to attach to a pole or tree.  You probably have the scrap wood in your garage to make one.  However, you will need some kind of plans to make that happen.  Personally, I have used the plans found in the package set of plans produced by Ted’s Woodworking Plans.  There are literally thousands of choices, and when you graduate from birdhouses and bird feeders you can make Adirondack chairs, furniture, shelves, toys….  you name it.

 

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